Saudi Arabia promises 'material evidence' linking Iran to oil attack - GulfToday

Saudi Arabia promises 'material evidence' linking Iran to oil attack

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A satellite image shows damage to oil and gas infrastructure from drone attacks at Abqaig in Saudi Arabia. AFP

Saudi Arabia said it would show evidence linking regional rival Tehran to an unprecedented attack on its oil industry that Washington believes originated from Iran in a dangerous escalation of Middle East frictions.

Tehran has denied involvement in the Sept. 14 attacks on oil plants, including the world's biggest crude processing facility, that initially knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's production.

"We don't want conflict in the region ... Who started the conflict?" Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, blaming Washington and Tehran for a war in Yemen.

Yemen's Houthi group, an ally of Iran, has claimed responsibility and said they used drones to assault state oil company Aramco's sites.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials were headed to Saudi Arabia. United Nations experts monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen also left for the kingdom, Saudi's UN envoy told reporters.

Concrete evidence showing Iranian responsible, if made public, could pressure Riyadh and Washington into a response, though US President Donald Trump said he does not want war.

The Saudi Defence Ministry said it will hold a news conference on Wednesday at 1430 GMT to present "material evidence and Iranian weapons proving the Iranian regime's involvement in the terrorist attack". Riyadh has already said preliminary results showed the attack did not come from Yemen.

Saudi-king750x500 The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. File

The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired the cabinet's session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday afternoon.

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At the outset of the session, the King expressed thanks and appreciation to the leaders of countries, officials of states, regional and international organizations and all those who expressed condemnation of the sabotage attack on two Aramco plants in Abqaiq and Khurais, reaffirming the Kingdom's ability to deal with the effects of such cowardly attacks which do not only target vital installations of the Kingdom, but also target global oil supplies and threaten the stability of the global economy.

Sat-Saudi A satellite image shows the damage to the Aramco oil plant.

Minister of Media Turki Bin Abdullah Al Shabanah said in a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that the cabinet reiterated that the aim of this unprecedented sabotage aggression that threatens the international peace and security is directed primarily at global energy supplies and it is an extension of previous acts of aggression on Saudi Aramco's pumping stations by using Iranian weapons, calling on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities in condemning those behind it and clearly confronting these barbaric acts that touch the nerve of the global economy.

A view of the Aramco oil refinery in Abqaiq.

The cabinet was briefed by the Minister of Energy on the serious consequences of the blatant sabotage attack on Saudi Aramco oil plants in Abqaiq and Khurais, which according to preliminary estimates, led to the suspension of quantities of crude oil supplies estimated at (5.7) million barrels, in addition to the suspension of the production of associated gas quantities estimated at (2) billion cubic feet per day, and a decrease of about (50)% of the supplies of ethane gas and natural gas liquids.

The cabinet affirmed that this cowardly attack on the largest and most important crude oil processing plants in the world is an extension of repeated attacks on vital facilities which threatened the freedom of navigation and affected the stability of the growth of the global economy. The Cabinet stressed that the Kingdom will defend its lands and vital facilities and it is able to respond to those acts whatever their source, calling on the international community to take tougher measures to stop these blatant attacks that threaten the region, the security of oil supplies and the global economy, and to hold accountable and deter those behind them.

Agencies